Many runners tend to have one common challenge time and again; experiencing calf tightness. The reason for this is because calf muscles are the most vital muscle groups used when running. But what really causes your calf to be tight? And how can you deal with that? Let’s take a look at that.
What Causes Calf Tightness?
Calf tightness from running can cause a sharp and unbearable pain in the lower leg. This is brought about by various aspects, and they include the following;
How Can You Reduce Calf Tightness?
Now that you know what can lead to a tight calf as you run, you now need to understand the proper remedies to solve it. Here are a few approaches you can apply.
New Health Advisor mentions foam rolling as one of the tight calf remedies. Here, you will need the small and solid foam rollers like those ones used in yoga. Working with these foam rollers is also easy, and you can do the drills without the need for any professional supervision.
To do them, start by placing the roller on a plain floor. The floor should not be bumpy, which allows the rollers to put an even pressure to your calf. Once the roller is on the floor, you will simply roll your leg over as you concentrate on the calf area. Amazon has a really good selection of Foam Rollers, you really do not need a super fancy one. A simple one like this one should be perfect for you.
This one is a vital pre and post warmup drill. Stretching helps to flex the muscles and solve tightness from running. It is a perfect drill for newbies, though even the professional runners require stretching their muscles if they experience a calf tightness.
Start by bracing your hands on a post or a wall, then extend your legs behind you as far as possible. As you stretch out your leg, ensure that you keep both heels flat. Hold that position for about 10 to 20 seconds, then release and change the legs. You can repeat this in about 10 sets
Though the foam rollers help to massage the calf, you can still massage with your hands for a direct impact. Massaging also helps to target the deep tissues, which might not respond to the foam rollers massage. This drill helps to enhance the blood circulation around your calf muscles.
According to Leading Edge Physical Therapy, dry needling is also an effective remedy for calf tightness. This approach is basically an imitation of the common acupuncture, and it was introduced in the Western Countries to replace the traditional Chinese medicine.
This approach entails the placement of tiny needles in the target muscle groups. Since you will be solving the calf tightness, the needles will be placed into your calf muscles. It helps to solve shortened and fatigued muscles
Here, you will require a resistance band that will work on the gastrocnemius, the large outer calf muscles. It is an effective drill that can release the fatigue in the muscle group.
Start by sitting down on the floor as you stretch your legs in front. As you do this, straighten your back and loop the band around one of your footballs, then flex your foot backward towards you. Stop and hold your leg in the band for around 30 seconds when you feel a pull on your calf muscle. Release and repeat in 10 sets.
This drill is also effective enough to relieve the tightness of the muscles. Start by standing with your feet balls on the edge of a step. Your heels should be hanging off at this point, then drop them on the step level and hold for around 30 seconds. As you do this, avoid bouncing to make the stretch gentle and effective enough.
STANDING CALF RAISES
With this drill, you will stand on a flat ground with your feet wide apart to be in line with your shoulders. Hold the back of a chair as you rise to your feet balls, and hold the position for about 10 seconds. Lower your heels slowly to the ground, and repeat the drill in about 10 sets.
Proper workouts can help to relieve the tightness of the calf muscles. For the therapy remedies like dry needling and massaging, you must consult a professional to help you with it. A wrong move can cause further injuries to your muscles.
How Can You Prevent Calf Tightness From Running?
If you haven’t experienced a calf tightness yet, or if you successfully apply the effective drills to relieve it, you will need to take the necessary measures to prevent it from creeping back to your calf. Here are some measures to help you prevent having a tight calf when running.
Experiencing a tight calf is common with runners; both the newbies and the professionals. The main reason why many people have a tight calf when running is because the muscles don’t receive proper blood circulation. Even muscle flexing allows blood and air to flow through the muscle tissues.
For that, proper warmup drills will help to prevent fatigue and prepare your leg and feet for running. A well-balanced diet also supplies the muscles with the right nutrients to function properly. Blending a walk and other slight drills also balanced the pressure exerted on the calf muscles.
If you are new to running, always take your time to learn what is needed, which includes the proper footwear, and understanding the biometrics. Biometrics simply entails how the body works and functions as you are running. This will help you to prepare adequately for your next run.